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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 2, 1914

Sullivan Committee Unfriendly to Senate Plan, Which Included Trip to Europe.


Commissioner Testifies Glynn's Brick Road Project Would Be Costly—Opposes Divided Authority.

Special to The New York Times.

ALBANY, April 1.—The Sullivan Committee resumed to-day its inquiry into State highway construction, devoting its session to an examination of John N. Carlisle, Commissioner of Highways.  John Kirkland Clark, the committee's counsel, asked about the work performed by the Advisory Board of Engineers, which aided Commissioner Carlisle in determining the character of roads that should be built in some districts and arranging the standard form of specifications now in use in the department.

Mr. Carlisle said he had just received a report of more than 200 pages from Col. W. Deh, Washington, a member of the Advisory Board, who visited Europe last year to study road conditions.  The Commissioner said the report was the most complete ever made in his State.

Mr. Clark asked if an additional trip to Europe would be necessary for the guidance of the Highway Department.  Mr. Carlisle said that in his opinion such a visit would be advisable.

"But such a visit should be made by experts, and not by legislators, as proposed by the Senate's resolution," Assemblyman Michael Schaap, Progressive, suggested.

"I think that the legislators would be qualified to make a fair report of such an inspection," Mr. Carlisle replied.  It was evident from the questions asked that the Sullivan Committee had it in mind to oppose the plan to send a Senate committee on an investigating tour through other States and Europe.

Mr. Carlisle said that the best roads were built of brick, and that if the remainder of the roads to be improved in this State were to be built of brick, as proposed by Gov. Glynn, the cost would be at least $140,000,000 while the State would have only about $60,000,000 available for the improvement of roads.  He favored building concrete roads, which he declared, would cost from &14,000 to $15,000 a mile under the Highway Department's new specifications.  Mr. Carlisle said the brick roads would last from thirty to forty years, and the concrete roads about twenty-five years.

Mr. Carlisle asserted that the committee's plan to recommend legislation designed to change the single-headed Highway Department into a three-headed commission was not practicable.

"You might as well have three Governors or three Secretaries of State," he said.  "Where a department is vested with executive authority, one man must be responsible, or conditions will be just as bad as they were under the former Higway Commission, where it seemed to be the general idea to say the other fellow was to blame."

C. Gordon Reel, Superintendent of Highways under Gov. Dix, was present at the hearing.  It was said that he was not under subpoena, but had been asked to be a witness.  He will be called to-morrow morning, and it is understood that he will be asked to sign a waiver of immunity.  When called by James W. Osborne a few weeks ago he refused to sign such a waiver.

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